We have characterized the floral phenotypes produced by the recessive homeotic apetala 1-1 (ap1-1) mutation in Arabidopsis. Plants homozygous for this mutation display a homeotic conversion of sepsis into brachts and the concomitant formation of floral buds in the axil of each transformed sepal. In addition, these flowers lack petals. We show that the loss of petal phenotype is due to the failure of petal primordia to be initiated. We have also constructed double mutant combinations with ap1 and other mutations affecting floral development. Based on these results, we suggest that the AP1 and the apetala 2 (AP2) genes may encode similar functions that are required to define the pattern of where floral organs arise, as well as for determinate development of the floral meristem. We propose that the AP1 and AP2 gene products act in concert with the product of the agamous (AG) locus to establish a determinate floral meristem, whereas other homeotic gene products are required for cells to differentiate correctly according to their position. These results extend the proposed role of the homeotic genes in floral development and suggest new models for the establishment of floral pattern.